Rohingya Protest for Justice on Crackdown Anniversary

Rohingya Protest for Justice on Crackdown AnniversaryRohingya Protest for Justice on Crackdown Anniversary

Thousands of Rohingya refugees staged angry protests for "justice" Saturday on the first anniversary of a Myanmar military crackdown that sparked a mass exodus to camps in Bangladesh.

Many wept as they recalled the brutal killings and rapes inflicted on the Muslim minority last year as 700,000 fled across the border, AFP reported.

The biggest refugee camp in the world is rigidly controlled by Bangladesh authorities and the peaceful but charged Rohingya marches and rallies seen there were unprecedented.

"We are Rohingya, we want justice," people chanted in the Kutupalong camp, where a giant banner proclaimed, "Never Again: Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day. August 25, 2018."

In a different part of the camp, thousands of women and children marched behind a huge poster declaring, "365 days of crying. Now I am angry."

Allegedly Rohingya militants staged attacks on Myanmar police posts on August 25 last year, sparking a bloody crackdown in Rakhine state.

Nearly 7,000 Rohingya were killed in the first month, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

Refugees arrived in Bangladesh on foot or in flimsy boats. Many brought horrific stories of sexual violence, torture and villages burned to the ground.

Columns of people marching through the camp on Saturday waved banners and chanted "Allahu Akbar" (God is Great).

Tears flowed as one Imam gave a sermon, saying "Please Allah, return to us our homeland. Let us see our parents' graves. We left them back in Myanmar."

Myanmar authorities, who insist their forces only targeted insurgents, have made an agreement with Bangladesh to repatriate refugees but only a handful have gone back.

Rohingya leaders say the exiles will not return home unless their safety is guaranteed.

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